When you sit down at a local coffee shop or free public Wi-Fi hotspot, log into one of your favorite sites, and begin surfing the web, you might as well be handing out business cards with your login IDs and passwords to everyone around you. That’s because sites that don’t have HTTPS encryption provide no protection for the end user. Instead, they leave you vulnerable and exposed. Is that a place you want to put your site’s visitors?
What is HTTPS?
You are probably more familiar with HTTPS than you think. HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol and is a form of website security. You may recognize those letters from the beginning of website URLs. HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol with Secure Sockets Layer. This form of protection is designed to facilitate safe, secure internet transactions that involve private information or the exchange of money.
When a website has HTTPS, it is better protected from third party attacks. It’s essentially proof that you are involved in a secure session and safe from prying eyes. While many websites don’t have a practical need for HTTPS, others certainly require it. Ecommerce sites in particular need HTTPS.
How to Install and Setup HTTPS with Joomla
Setting up HTTPS with Joomla is very simple. It does, however, require attention to detail. Make sure you follow these steps and ask questions before beginning anything you don’t understand.
- Purchase a Certificate. For starters, you need to purchase a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate. This encrypts the information on your site and enables it to be transmitted safely and securely. These certificates can be costly, depending on what source you purchase from, and typically range from $20-$200.
- Install the Certificate. Next, you will need your web host to install the certificate on your Joomla site. From here, you’ll be able to manage the preferences as you please (via the administration panel).
- Login and Tweak. After you’ve been given access to your SSL certificate, you can click through the basic options to set various encryption rules. For example, you will be asked for preferences on encrypting your entire site, your login forms, and more.
- Adjust Components. Finally, if you have extra components and add-on features on your site, you’ll need to individually adjust these settings to enable SSL security.
- Security. The major overarching benefit of HTTPS is that the data is encrypted and the risk of eavesdropping attacks is greatly reduced. When someone visits your site, they are ensured their information will be safe and secure.
Benefits of HTTPS
After installing and setting up your SSL certificate, you will unlock the many benefits of HTTPS. Some of the major advantages include:
- Confidence. When people know your site is safe, they are sure to shop with more confidence. This increases site traffic, conversions, and your overall bottom line. It’s also not a bad play for improving your brand image.
- No History. For those worried about a server storing their history, HTTPS is a welcome sight. No history is collected. In fact, history is destroyed after the connection has been terminated.
Ignore at Your Own Peril
The major downside for some is that HTTPS is reportedly slower than HTTP. While this may be true, the difference is certainly not noticeable to most. It’s probably a better idea to invest in security over a marginal difference in speed. If you choose to ignore HTTPS on your site, you may find yourself in trouble. If a user’s information is stolen, questions will be asked and fingers pointed. It’s best to avoid these situations all together by investing in HTTPS for your Joomla site.
Joomla! Community Magazine
Setting up HTTPS on your Joomla site doesn’t have to be challenging. There are plenty of resources available to guide you through the process. For additional information on site building, design, and anything else related to the Joomla community, check out these free resources and articles. Some of the most helpful articles include “The Power of Twitter” and “Easy to Use Joomla Search Operator Commands.”